A Dozen Self-Care Strategies for Helpers & Caregivers

Chances are good that you’ve served in a helping or caregiving role for someone else at some point in your life. My definition of “helper or caregiver” is pretty broad. It includes not only those who work professionally in a helping role (health care workers, counselors, therapists, teachers, clergy, first responders), but also family and … Read more…

Recovery After a Suicide Attempt: ‘A Journey Toward Health and Hope’

Perhaps you (or someone you care about) have had such significant distress, depression or hopelessness that you attempted to end your life by suicide. However, if you’re reading this, I’m so glad you made it through that incredibly difficult experience. Often there is little support for suicide attempt survivors, so I’m always looking out for … Read more…

‘First Aid’ for Mental Health Concerns

Most of us are familiar with basic first aid approaches to manage medical situations, or perhaps you’ve even had a first aid course at school or work. But did you know you can now take a special type of first aid course to learn how to better handle mental health concerns and crises? I had heard about “Mental … Read more…

How You Can Help Me With My Recovery

We all know how critically important help, support and encouragement are if you’re recovering from a physical or mental health issue or addiction. But it’s really hard to ask for help because of fear, shame, guilt, anxiety, and a host of other challenges and barriers. If you’ve ever wanted to reach out for help and … Read more…

It’s National Recovery Month!

Each September, SAMHSA, the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration sponsors “National Recovery Month” to increase awareness of mental health and substance use issues. Key themes include: 1) mental health is essential to overall health; 2) prevention works; 3) treatments are effective; and 4) recovery is possible. The Recovery Month theme for 2016 is “Join the Voices … Read more…

The Incredible Power of Peer Support

If you’re at all familiar with issues surrounding mental health and/or addiction, you’ve probably heard of the idea of peer support. But what is peer support and how do you become a peer supporter? Let’s cover these and a few other important points about this very effective and helpful approach. What are the origins of peer … Read more…

10 Easy Ways to Root for the “Mental Health Team”

As I was watching our state championship high school basketball game, I couldn’t help but notice how enthusiastic and organized the supporters for each team were. I’ve seen this happen time and time again over the years in all different types of sports venues. So I thought, “Why can’t we show this same level of … Read more…

10 Priceless Gifts You Can Give to Someone with Mental Illness

Looking for that perfect holiday, birthday, or any day gift? If someone you care about is facing challenges related to mental health issues or addiction, you can give them many wonderful gifts throughout the year that won’t cost you a dime. Consider these. 1)  Give the gift of assistance “Helping others isn’t a chore; it is one … Read more…

Ten Commandments for How to Talk About Mental Health

I was giving a lecture to a group of college students and I described how to show respect toward people with mental health concerns by using appropriate language. As one example, I noted it’s better to say “John has schizophrenia” instead of “John is schizophrenic.” I explained how “John has schizophrenia” puts the emphasis on … Read more…

A Dozen Ways You Can Support Someone in Recovery

If you’re a friend or a family member of someone in recovery from mental illness or addiction, a common question you may ask is, “What should I do to support my friend or loved one with their recovery?” You want to be helpful and supportive, but you may feel at a loss as to what … Read more…

Stop Discrimination Toward People with Mental Illness

In a recent post, I discussed “5 Simple Steps to Reduce Stigma About Mental Illness.” In case you missed it, the 5 steps were: 1) Don’t label people who have a mental illness. Use ‘person-first’ language. For example, say “she has schizophrenia” instead of “she’s a schizophrenic.” 2) Don’t be afraid of people with mental … Read more…

5 Simple Steps to Reduce Stigma About Mental Illness

If you tune into any conversation about mental illness and addiction, it won’t be very long until the term “stigma” comes up. Stigma has various definitions, but they all refer to negative attitudes, beliefs, descriptions, language or behavior. In other words, stigma can translate into disrespectful, unfair, or discriminatory patterns in how we think, feel, … Read more…

9 Benefits of Support Groups

It seems like there are support groups for just about any topic, concern, or health condition. Common types of mental health issues addressed in groups include alcohol and drug addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, grief, borderline personality and eating disorders. While some groups may have professionals as leaders, many will be led by peers, who … Read more…

“What Do You Know About NAMI?”

There are many wonderful mental health organizations doing great work all around the world. So, when you single one out for praise, you run the risk of ticking off all the others. I’ll take that risk, because I want to recognize the many fine efforts of NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (www.nami.org). NAMI … Read more…

Help Wanted: Good Citizens to Support People with Mental Illness

In school, we all learned several ways to be a “good citizen”: vote, participate in community service, be a good neighbor, follow the rules, and treat others with respect. All of these are important responsibilities which contribute to a better society. But did you ever stop to think about how you can be a good citizen … Read more…

%d bloggers like this: